NINE family members in Nampundwe district perished in an inferno

Deputy Inspector General of Police Solomon Jere
Deputy Inspector General of Police Solomon Jere

WHILE many Zambians bid farewell to 2013 as they said hello to 2014, a Nampundwe man had a totally different plan – to scorch his seven children, including a grandchild and an unborn infant, to death.
The stranger-than-fiction story that left a black mark on this year’s New Year’s celebration occurred just about 25 kilometres west of Lusaka in Shamakamba village in Nampundwe.
The reason for the senseless smothering of innocent lives whose ages range from four years to 15 [the pregnant one] is even stranger, according to eyewitness accounts collected by a Daily Mail team that dashed to the scene of the horrendous crime.
The victims have been identified as Martha, 15, Paul, 13, Benadita, 11, Wilson, 9, Harriet, 7, Pethias, 5, Patience, 4, and the grandchild Dalitso, also aged four. A sausage dog also died.ensibly, the murderous arsonist identified as Paul Phiri aged between 45 and 50 years who went up in flames too during the same ‘suicide murder’ was having problems with first wife identified as Florence Sinkende, 38.
Ostensibly, the murderous arsonist identified as Paul Phiri aged between 45 and 50 years who went up in flames too during the same ‘suicide murder’ was having problems with his first wife identified as Florence Sinkende, aged 38.
So, he allegedly sweet-talked all his children, including the adults who had their own huts in the family compound, into one house with some alcohol, food and fireworks, tied a chain to the door and poured 10 litres of petrol around the house and lit a match because the wife didn’t want him anymore.
The incident happened around 02:00 hours as neighbours and close relatives watched helplessly as the children screamed for help.
According to Bonnwell Lubole, a brother-in-marriage of the suspect, the couple, who had been on separation for three years, failed to reconcile despite several attempts by the man.
Mr Lubole narrated to the Daily Mail that Mr Phiri, who used to reside in Chongwe with his second wife, visited his family in Nampundwe early this week at which attempts to reconcile with Florence failed.
He said on Monday, he escorted Florence to Lusaka where she got on a bus to Maamba to attend a funeral of a relative.
Mr Lubole said Mr Phiri returned to Nampundwe on Tuesday with some food, fireworks and a 10-litre container of petrol.
“When his children asked him what he wanted to use the petrol for, his response was that he was keeping it for a friend who would pick it the following day,” Mr Lubole said.
Mr Lubole, who was visibly devastated, said he and other family members attempted to break the door but failed as it was secured with a lock and chain.
He said police were informed about the incident and arrived at the scene around 06:00 hours.
Mr Lubole said he used to take care of the family since the departure of Mr Phiri three years ago.
He said the motive behind the act by Mr Phiri is unknown but suspects he did it out of anger because Florence refused to reconcile with him.
And Sibuyunji district commissioner Funnel Mweemba and headman Shamakamba, who were at the scene, described the tragedy as disheartening.
Florence arrived from Maamba around 14:00 hours yesterday and wept uncontrollably as family members tried to console her.
Most people in the area were found watching helplessly with disbelief as police carried out a forensic investigation before picking up the bodies.
By 15:00 hours, police were preparing to bury the bodies as they were burnt beyond recognition.
And unknown people have prematurely ended the life of a 27-year-old Lundazi man whom they gruesomely murdered by crushing his head and cutting off his left leg from the waist leaving the body with deep cuts in both armpits, Darlington Mwendabai reports.
The suspects, who are on the run, dumped the deceased along the Lundazi–Chipata road.
Eastern Province commissioner of police Grace Chipalila confirmed in a statement yesterday that Oscar Harawa, 27, of Kupankubika village, Chief Chikomeni in Lundazi, was found dead with a crushed head.
“We received a report of murder from Donald Phiri, aged 45 years of Mwawala Farm, Chief Chikomeni in Lundazi. This occurred between Sunday December 29, 2013 at 22:00 hours and Monday December 30, 2013 at 01:00 hours,” Ms Chipalila said.
She said police visited the scene and found the deceased lying on the road with the left leg cut off from the waist, the body had deep cuts in both armpits and the back of the head was crushed.
Ms Chipalila said the body is lying in Lundazi District Hospital mortuary and the motive of the killing has not yet been established as investigations are still ongoing.
She has warned that police will pursue the suspects until they are brought to book.

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